This I Believe

Alexander - Ames, Iowa
Entered on November 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

But Why?

Questions are what give meaning to my life. At every waking moment I have, I’m searching for answers. Little questions, big questions, each has its place, but all are important. Questions are how I discover and understand the world around me. Some people may feel that I’m thinking too hard. Some may think there are questions that simply don’t have answers. I believe every question has an answer. While the question or answer may not be terribly significant, that is not the real reason behind it; the pleasure and significance comes from the discovery.

As I’ve grown older, so have the magnitude of my mysteries. As a child, like any child, I was curious about how things worked. At that time, those questions meant discovering the cause and meaning behind the things I could see around me: animals, plants, weather, the physical things in my life. I still wonder how the world works, but these days I’ve turned my mind’s eye to higher thoughts. I find joy in unraveling abstract systems and concepts. Puzzling over problems, be they mathematical, philosophical, or just fanciful whimsy, is how I spend my time. Most find such things boring, or over their heads. I often find problems to be too complex to understand as well, but this is only a temporary roadblock; the next step in the game is to simplify the problem until I understand it, or to improve my own understanding until it becomes clear. The process is just as important as the answers I find.

Mostly, I tackle these dilemmas on my own. But as much as I enjoy my hermetic thoughtspace, it is nearly equally satisfying to hear the opinions and theories that others have made. Unfortunately, there are not very many people in my life who take time to theorize abundance economics or consider the future of artificial intelligence. Fortunately, I can find communities that share these interests, and have been able to stimulate discussions far more interesting than any I’ve had myself. Online forums on websites such as XKCD and Dresden Codak have been able to draw like-minded people from around the world, to engage in meaningful dialogue about issues and ideas that I find interesting and important. Often I’ll be exposed to something that I’ve never heard of before, and be drawn into new topics just as consuming as my own.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as thinking too much. You can never ask too many questions. By understanding more about the world around me, I can live a richer, happier life. It doesn’t matter what the questions is, or the answer, as long as the process to get there is satisfying.